Friday, 19 March 2010
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Final Round  (Getty Images)
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Final Round (Getty Images)

Simon Dyson was in no doubt that the last round 66 that secured him victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews represented the finest 18 holes of his career.

After two wins at The KLM Open and a solitary victory at the 2006 Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open since he turned professional a decade ago, the 31 year old's superb effort on Monday swept him to victory for the second time on The European Tour this year. The event spilled into an extra day because of Saturday's high winds.

Full of jealousy when his great friend Nick Dougherty took the same title two years ago, Dyson collected the first prize of £485,850 by three strokes from Rory McIlroy and Oliver Wilson.

It takes the York golfer, who magically birdied six of the first seven holes, top of the European points standings for The Ryder Cup, into the top ten in The Race To Dubai and into the World Ranking top 50 for the first time. He began the week 92nd.

In August, Dyson’s second win in the Netherlands came with a course record closing 63, but after taking charge with his blistering start and then carefully avoiding disaster he revised his opinion about the best round of his career.

"There's no way this can't be it," he said. "This is like our fifth major, a massive tournament at the Home of Golf and I've shot 66 to win it.

"I'm absolutely buzzing. Darren Clarke has just said to me 'Take your time and enjoy it - it does not get any better than winning at St Andrews'.

"My parents always come up (to the tournament), but couldn't make it this year. They're never coming back!”

The former Walker Cup player - he was a team-mate of Paul Casey and Luke Donald at The Nairn Golf Club in 1999 - admits he is a lot more dedicated to his golf than once was the case.

"I might have done better but I don't regret one thing that I've done,” Dyson continued. “You're travelling the world and you've got to enjoy yourself.

"I've still got a lot of time left in my career hopefully - touch wood. I've settled down a lot, I'm the happiest away from the course that I've ever been, and what more do you want?"

Dyson knew it could be a special day from his second shot - a pitch to three feet that brought him level with Donald, who with a round of 73 fell all the way back to seven and still has not won for three and a half years.

Dyson was a fraction of an inch away from an outward 29 but four pars in a row kept him at 20 under par with seven to go. He added another birdie on the 12th and could afford to bogey the Road Hole 17th.

McIlroy ruined his chances of winning by bogeying the 12th, 16th and 17th. But his birdie on the last was huge for The Race To Dubai battle.

Wilson was cursing not finishing one ahead of him, though, after missing a three-foot birdie putt on the last.

Wilson said: "I played with Simon last week (at The Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros tournament) and this week (for three rounds), and he has not really missed a shot.

"He's a great lad, upbeat all the time, and has the perfect attitude for golf."

Scotland's Richie Ramsay, meanwhile, would have finished joint second but for three-putting from the Valley of Sin on the last.

Joint fourth, however, secured his card for The European Tour next season - and he would certainly have taken that 10 days ago, having not been in the event until Casey pulled out.

McIlroy, only one behind Donald overnight, had dearly wanted to win playing alongside his father on his 50th birthday in the celebrity pro-am, but he managed 'only' a 69.

That was still good enough to take the 20 year old above injured pair Martin Kaymer and Casey into top spot in The Race To Dubai standings, but he knew the day belonged to Dyson.

"After nine I thought I had a really good chance but Simon played great so hats off to him," said McIlroy.

"I wanted better but second is okay. I wish I had played better for my dad but I still haven't shot in the 70s at St Andrews, which is nice."

Especially with The Open Championship at this course next summer, he might have added.

While Dyson took the spoils in the main event, the Team prize went to Søren Hansen and Irishman Kieran McManus, who dovetailed magnificently to produce a stunning final round 59 over the Old Course to set a new record score of 44 under par for the Team event.

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